Secrets of Santa Muerte: A Guide to the Prayers, Spells, Rituals, and Hexes

Weiser Bks. Aug. 2022. 256p. ISBN 9781578637720. pap. $18.95. PARAPSYCH
Stone, a scholar of religious studies who spent the last six years studying with Santa Muerte curanderos in Mexico, writes a respectful practical guide to the Mexican folk saint Santa Muerte, who she says is likely the modern incarnation of an all-powerful pre-colonial goddess of death, revered and worshiped by all of Mexico’s indigenous tribes. Surviving generations of suppression by colonial conquerors and the Catholic Church, worshipers of Santa Muerte (whose current manifestation is always female and usually skeletal) now openly adore her embrace of all genders, ages, races, and orientations. The embodiment of maternal giving, girlish playfulness, and crone wisdom, Santa Muerte is the arbiter of both the good and the terrifying power of death, Stone writes; she grants wishes, dreams, abundance, true love, and ruin to one’s enemies. Stone advises that devotees of Santa Muerte must be dedicated and consistent in their commitment. The author also offers generous, expert, and explicitly detailed practical advice on creating and maintaining an altar, acquiring statues, the symbology of colors and animals, and the use of herbs, candle work, rituals, prayers, and hexes.
VERDICT Readers of occult practices, Mexican culture, and goddess studies will find this title to be a comprehensive and respectful guide to all aspects of the folk saint.
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